Telangana CM calls for empowering states

Hyderabad:Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrashekhar Rao on Tuesday called for empowering the states, saying the time has come for reinventing India by setting a development-centric national agenda and moving away from centralization.

India needs a new economic model that has states at the forefront, he said at a meeting with 15th Finance Commission Chairman, N.K.Singh and other members here.

KCR, as Rao is popularly known, pointed out that at present, growth of the country is nothing but the growth of hardly 8 to 10 states. “Other states are much behind. If the country has to grow and achieve its potential each state has to grow duly leveraging its resources and potential,” he said.

The Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) chief said states need to be given more space to prioritise issues at their level. He drew the attention of the Finance panel to the fact that even in the subjects listed under the state list, there are numerous Centrally sponsored schemes.

KCR said said he was sharing these concerns with Finance Commission as it was better placed to flag these issues of national concern for the serious consideration of the Centre.

He suggested that agriculture, education, health, urban development, rural development, housing, drinking water, sanitation, and women and child welfare should be left to be handled by state governments.

KCR said though there was a provision of devolution of 42 per cent of the Gross Tax Revenue (GTR) of the Union, in actual terms, this was never achieved. “The devolved share has been only around a third of GTR. This is mainly due to significant percentage of cesses in the GTR, which are outside the divisible pool,” he said.

According to Chief Minister’s Office, N.K. Singh broadly agreed with the Chief Minister on the need for redoing and rationalisation of centrally sponsored schemes. He also agreed with that cesses and surcharges should not be continued indefinitely, and about realignment of resources with responsibilities.